Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Better to Reign in Hell Than Serve in Heaven

Two days ago when I heard that an Iraqi soldier had killed a couple of American soldiers, I wondered, "What really happened?" The New York Times reports:

The soldier who shot the Americans was tied to the insurgency, said Brig. Gen. Mutaa Habib al-Khazraji, a commander in the Iraqi Army’s Second Division in Mosul. During the firefight, he “seized the opportunity” and fired on the American soldiers, killing two of them, the general said in a telephone interview on Saturday, adding that the Iraqi “was an infiltrator.”

Turns out, as I read today, that the Iraqi soldiers weren't exactly comfortable with the American soldiers' abusing Iraqi women; pulling hair and beating up pregnant women is no way to gain favour and demonstrate freedom. An excerpt from Ali Al-Fadhily's (IPS News)article:
Kaissar is a professional soldier who revolted against the Americans when they dragged a woman by her hair in a brutal way," Col. Juboory said. "He is a tribal man, and an Arab with honor who would not accept such behavior. He killed his captain and sergeant knowing that he would be executed."

Others gave IPS a similar account. "I was there when the American captain and his soldiers raided a neighborhood and started shouting at women to tell them where some men they wanted were," a resident of Mosul, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS on phone. "The women told them they did not know, and their men did not do anything wrong, and started crying in fear."

The witness said the U.S. captain began to shout at his soldiers and the women, and his men then started to grab the women and pull them by their hair.

"The soldier we knew later to be Kaissar shouted at the Americans, 'No, no,' but the captain shouted back at the Iraqi soldier," the witness told IPS. "Then the Iraqi soldier shouted, 'Let go of the women, you sons of bitches,' and started shooting at them." The soldier, he said, then ran off.

The Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni organization, issued a statement saying the Iraqi soldier had shot the U.S. soldiers after he saw them beat up a pregnant woman.

"His blood rose and he asked the occupying soldiers to stop beating the woman," they said in the statement. "Their answer through the translator was: 'We will do what we want.' So he opened fire on them."

War is rape. The fight is not noble, is not protecting or helping women. This story reminds me to keep listening to the voices from Iraq, Afghanistan. Read the propaganda and ask yourself always, "what is the other side of the story?" The Iraqi man who took a stand against the occupiers in defense of Iraqi women, in a moment of fury of the soldiers' abuse and mistreatment and disregard for humanity, this man now suffers torture at the hands of the men he raged against. I laugh and I sigh that the rhetoric continues to convince North Americans that democracy and an occupation will 'free' Middle Eastern Women. Listen to the Iraqi voices:
Col. Juboory said Kaissar who had at first accepted collaboration with the U.S. forces "found the truth too bitter to put up with." The colonel said: "I worked with the Americans because being an army officer is my job, and also because I was convinced they would help Iraqis. But 11 months was enough for me to realize that starving to death is more honorable than serving the occupiers.

I do not support these wars.

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